Edition 2

Learning From

Paul Klee, Teppich (Carpet), 1927, pen on paper on cardboard, © 2017 Christie’s Images Limited.

Kader Attia, Signs of Reappropriation as Repair, 2017, Single projection of 80 slides, Courtesy of the artist.

Door from the Musée Tiskiwin, Collection of Bert Flint
Photo: Maud Houssais.

Poster exhibition of Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabâa,
Mohamed Melehi, Théâtre National Mohamed V,
design: Mohamed Melehi, 1965
Toni Maraini, personal archive / courtesy by Toni Maraini.

Maghreb Art’s cover, edited by the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca, N°1, 1965.
Collection of Maud Houssais, Courtesy of the Chabaa family.

Painted ceiling of Mohamed Melehi, Hotel Les Roses du Dades, Kelaa M'Gouna, 1968–69
Architects: cabinet Faraoui et de Mazières, archives: Faraoui et de Mazières.

in: Maghreb Art Magazine, No. 3, 1965.

Lena Bergner, Draft of a hand loom, ca. 1936–39
Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
© (Lena Bergner) Erbengemeinschaft nach Lena Bergner.

Book cover of Ernst Fuhrmann, Tlinkit und Haida
Folkwang Verlag GmbH, Hagen 1922.

Raoul D’Harcourt, Textiles of Ancient Peru and their Techniques, photo: Grant Watson.

Lenore Tawney, Mask, ca. 1967, Linen, pre-Columbian beads, shell, horsehair
Photos: George Erml; Courtesy: Lenore G. Tawney Foundation.

Marguerite Wildenhain, Double Face pot, 1960–70, Luther College, Decorah, photo: Grant Watson, © Luther College.

●Edition Concept

Departing from Paul Klee’s drawing of a North African kilim, the edition Learning From foregrounds an interest at the Bauhaus in the vernacular and the premodern as well as in the social value of craft. This interest, reflected in the collection of the Bauhaus library, included European folk art, the decorative arts of North Africa and the Near East as well as the ancient civilizations of the Americas.


While this is relating to an early twentieth-century “primitivist” discourse, at the Bauhaus, things such as African and Andean patterns and techniques were carefully studied by masters and students in order to innovate from within their own culture and to synthesize this knowledge into modern designs. In mid-twentieth-century North America, Bauhaus practices, evolved through contact with ancient as well as contemporary indigenous cultures, became the source for formal as well as technical developments, particularly in the field of weaving. In North Africa, as part of the process of decolonization, an engagement with local crafts took on a political meaning, including in establishing new art school curricula, away from the Beaux-Arts education still based on orientalism, figurative art, and the division of the applied (low) and fine (high) arts. And in Brazil, a generation of cultural practitioners, including artists, architects, and pedagogues partially oriented through a relation with the Bauhaus, experienced a pull towards the marginal as a way to produce a break from the hegemony of European modernism.


Learning From tracks this history of appropriation through a series of geographies and time periods. It asks who produces the craft object, who learns, and who profits from it. Here, craft becomes a symbolic and political medium, highlighting various positionalities, including the North African Berber, the Andean weaver and the women of the Fibre Art movement.

●Related Articles
The Bauhaus and Morocco

In the years when Western nations were committed in new projects of partnership, with what was then called the “Third World”, young artists and students from the Maghreb had grown up in the passionate climate of the struggle for independence, were talented, open to modernity, and eager to connect with twentieth-century international art movements, which were different in production and spirit from colonial ideology and culture. → more

Mohamed Melehi

Mohamed Melehi has, through his various personal and creative journeys, played a key role in redefining the conversation on art in Morocco since the 1960s, and in doing so has forged new paths for a nomadic and transnational modern art movement that has as yet been poorly studied. → more


I was sixteen years old when I undertook my first journey into finding a professional vocation, first in Asilah, then in Fez followed by Tétouan. 1952. Tangiers was, to me, an open book, a window on the world. The freedom of seeing, of discovering and of feeling, of weaving the narratives of my dreams. → more

●Artist Text
Research Project by Kader Attia

Looking into the history of objects, into their original practical and social function as well as into the circumstances of their transition to European and other countries of Western civilization, the artist Kader Attia aims at conveying the full identity of the objects and to follow the traces of their disappearance that still can be discovered today and call for repair. → more

Learning From, Rabat

In Morocco, a lessor known history is how Bauhaus ideas of synthesizing different cultural influences impacted on art and design practice and esucation in the post-colonial period. The synthesis of the craft production and modern means of production is considered by post-colonial artists as one possible pathway beyond the legacy of colonial art education. → more

Le Gâchis / The Waste

Abdellatif Laâbi, "Le Gâchis", from: Souffles, No. 7–8, 1967, pp. 1–14
"The Waste", translated by Kate Hugh McStevenson in the context of the SNF project “Ästhetik der Dekolonisierung. Das Magazin Souffles (1966–1972)“ (2014–16)
Courtesy of Abdellatif Laâbi. → more

Fiches et questionnaires — Interviews of Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabaa, Mohamed Melehi

Interviews of Moroccan Casablanca School artists Farid Belkahia, Mohamed Chabaa and Mohamed Melehi 


first published in: Souffles, No. 7–8, 1967, Courtesy of Abdellatif Laâbi. → more

Témoignage sur un artiste occidental — Herbert Bayer

‘j’ai voyagé au maroc et j’ai beaucoup apprécié ses différentes traditions artisitiques; je suis impressionnable, et je peux dire que le maroc a signifié beaucoup pour moi.’

Publié dans: Integral, No. 12–13, 1978. → more

Essai d'Inventaire des Styles dans les Arts Populaires du Maroc

Dans notre première publication nous avions distingué quatre traditions ou influences artistiques qui se font sentir au Maroc.
La tradition berbère,
La tradition Islamique,
L’art populaire marocain,
Les influences Sahariennes et Africaines


Publié dans: Maghreb Art, 1966 → more

●All Articles
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